Monday, October 31, 2005

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Friday, October 28, 2005

Who watches over the Watchmen?


It is the oldest ironies that are still most satisfying: man, when preparing for bloody war, will orate loudly and most eloquently in the name of peace. This dichotomy is not an invention of the twentieth century, yet it is in this century that the most striking examples of the phenomena have appeared. Never before has man persued global harmony more vocally while amassing stockpiles of weapons so devastating in their effect. The second world war - we were told - was The War To End Wars. The development of the atomic bomb is The Weapon To End Wars.

And yet wars continue. Currently, no nation on this planet is not involved in some form of armed struggle, if not against its neighbours, then against internal forces. Furthermore, as ever-escalating amounts of money are poured into the pursuit of the specific weapon or conflict that will bring lasting peace, the drain on our economies creates a run-down urban landscape where crime flourishes and people are concerned less with national security than with the simple personal security needed to stop at the store late at night for a quart of milk without being mugged. The places we struggled so viciously to keep safe are becoming increasingly dangerous. These wars to end wars, the weapons to end wars, these things have failed us.


Now we have a man to end wars.


Since my association with Dr. Jonathan Osterman and the being he eventually became are well documented elsewhere, I feel I need only recap them briefly here. In 1959, in an accident that was certainly unplanned and just as certainly unrepeatable, a young American man was completely disintegrated, at least in a physical sense. Despite the absence of a body, a form of electromagnetic pattern resembling consciousness survived, and was able, in time, to rebuild an approximation of the body it had lost.

Perhaps in the process of reconstructing its corporeal form, this new and wholly original entity achieved a complete mastery of all matter; able to shape reality by the manipulation of its basic building blocks. When news of this being's phenomenal genesis was first released to the world, a certain phrase was used that has - at varying times - been attributed both to me and to others. On the newsflashes coming over our tvs on that fateful night, one sentence was repeated over and over again: 'The superman exists and he's American.'

I never said that, although I do recall saying something similar to a persistent reporter who would not leave without a quote. I presume the remark was edited or toned down so as not to offend public sensibilities; in any event I never said 'The superman exists and he's American.' What I said was "God exists and he's American.'


- Alan Moore, in Watchmen (1986-87).

[Refer to my other Watchmen post for more links.]

[the pic: a page from Watchmen, Alan Moore]

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Respect

Though I am posting this on Blabberwocky, this is serious. I just thought I would be able to reach out to a lot of poeple through Blabberwocky. This is for all self-respecting indivuals. All of you must have heard about a pony-tailed guy called Arindam Chaudhuri who runs an institute called IIPM and has written some rotten book. Beware! He is like Parnab.
Quizzers might have heard about Gaurav Sabnis. He USED to work for IBM. He pointed out some of the hilarious claims of IIPM on his blog.This resulted in him resigning from his job and being slapped with a 125 CRORE lawsuit. IIPM are filing suits against all bloggers who "defame" their institution. A 21 year old girl who came out in support of Gaurav has also been threatened with a 175 crore lawsuit.
My ignorance prevents me from doing something. Will better informed indivuals please chalk out a plan so that we can prevent Gaurav from getting into further trouble.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Maddox Square and all that

The lights are blinding, the air smells of bubbling oil and grease, the jabber and chatter are deafening, the earth whimpers in protest against the millions of kicking feet. No, dear reader, you aren’t dashing to glorious immortality in the Battle of the Bulge. You’re entering Maddox Square on Saptami evening. Something tells me the Bulge would’ve been safer.

All hell breaks loose. The entire city seems to be here, decked out in her glittering green sari and his new burgundy kurta. There is an apocalyptic feel to the whole thing, as if this is everyone’s last day alive, and must be made most of. Comparisons to the Black Hole of Calcutta spring, not inappropriately, to mind. You need to pick your way around, taking care to avoid stepping on the innumerable ebullient groups of young men and women sitting on the grass and having the time of their lives. Having navigated this human minefield successfully, you breathe a sigh of relief – the main pandal is a mere hop away – only to sink into wet mud. “O well”, you say, brushing aside these minor inconveniences, “the greater end, etc”, and walk into the mandap.

And then it hits you. The crowd seems to melt away as you walk towards the protima (the process is speeded up if you happen to have, like I did, a friend weighing close to 30 stone clearing the way for you). The sheer grandeur is breathtaking. The Goddess with her large beautiful eyes, the heady fumes of incense, the foot-tapping rhythms of the four dhakis… there is something so fabulously irreligious about Durga Pujo. It is the one time of the year when the Bengali shakes of his lethargy and actually works hard at having fun. There’s song and dance, love floats in the air, old friends greet each other amidst much backslapping; Pujo is when the good times roll, and it almost makes the horrendously overcharged three-hour journey worth your while.

But come next Pujo, you’d be well advised to do what I’ll do – kick off your shoes, order pizza and reread Goodbye to All That. It’s easier on the nerves.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Comfortably Dumb


Its crazy. It is absolutely crazy.
Where were they? All these months? Where were they? The streets were empty, people could walk without getting injured, cars could go from PArk Street to New Ampire in 10 minutes. So where did they come from?

How many are there?

We just die for a line, dont we? I mean, we all just adore lines. When the Durga Pujo is NOT on, then we just have to be satisfied with the occasional auro line. But Come October..Wohooooo! Any line baby! You want auto? No problem! You want Bata? Sure thing. You want a pandal? Coming right up!

I saw this line stretching from Golpark to Pantaloons. (I am NOT exaggerating) And for what? For the opening of a shop. Or maybe a pandal.

Am I dumb or are they?

Leave some sugar outside, and in a day you will see ants you didnt know existed. You have no idea where they came from. You never saw them around the house before...And yet, come sugar, and they are there.

But there's a certain warmth to it, isnt there? A certain 'touch'...A feel good factor. One doesnt mind the long queues, the sweaty people, the screaming kids. Its Pujo, after all.

Happy Pujo All!

And Back Again

Well...Blabberwocky, in conjunction with the Cornell University Literature Dept., is organising an online protest parade against thinkers, intellectuals and philosophers. Those of you blessed enough to actually have a fast internet connection can watch the parade (which will take place in Ithaca, New York State) Wednesday week, the 19th of October, on the Cornell website. And now, for some more grotesque ways in which thinkers died...here are some I came up with after a prolonged session in the watering hole :

Samuel Beckett - impatience
Roland Barthes - destructured (Aniruddh suggests 'orgasmed'!)
Mikhail Bakhtin - eaten by circus lions
Edward Said - shanghaied

Thank You. Stay tuned.

Ed's note: Vladimir Propp just folkin' died!